Developer(s) – Milky Tea Studios
Released on Steam last month, Coffin Dodgers is a quirky kart racing game reminiscent of the likes of Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing, with almost as much variety in gameplay, and a much more sadistic sense of humour in it’s story, and released to modest critical reception upon release. Whilst it isn’t the best kart racing game I’ve ever played, it provided me with a breath of fresh air, since I’ve found that here haven’t been a great deal of them released in recent years, and it made for a reasonably decent game.
Graphics – 8/10
Deviating away from conventional generic racing games, this title, as most kart racing game do, stands out in terms of conceptual design as opposed to technological advancement. The visuals of this game are largely outdated, making it look like it could possibly run on sixth generation, may be even fifth generation gaming hardware. But it stands out for it’s eccentric and varied character designs as well as it’s track design and variety in customisation.
Gameplay – 7/10
As a kart racing game, it also relies on many stables of the genre, such as weapons to hit enemies with, melee attacks for when racers are neck-and-neck, the facility to heavily customize the character’s car, or mobility scooters in this instance, and even a story mode. It’s like a blend of Mario Kart, Street Racer, Diddy Kong racing and Modnation Racers coming together to make something that tries to stand out, but only does so to a certain extent. I cant help but think that if the developers had taken all these ideas and expanded upon them as opposed to merely perpetuating them, the game could have been even more than what it turned out to be.
Controls – 5/10
The one massive downside this game has in comparison with most other successful kart racing games is hat the controls are mercilessly and unnecessarily difficult to have to cope with. Making turns seem more like a chore than a legitimate challenge, thus a lot of time will be sent in this game crashing. The game’s steam trailer even advertises the crash physics as if they are something to be enjoyed, but I’m sure players will feel much differently when it keeps on happening every five minutes.
Lifespan – 10/10
The game’s story mode will take around 2 to 3 hours to complete, but after that, it has infinite replay value, just like any other racing game. Online multiplayer has been a revelation to the kart racing genre, and it has made for something that even I am lukewarm to, as I don’t generally tend to play online with other gamers to any great deal. But ever since Mario Kart went online, I find myself addicted to it with almost every instalment, and certainly having it present in this game helps matters a great deal.
Storyline – 7/10
The game’s basic premise is that seven elderly residents of a peaceful town are threatened by the coming of the Grim Reaper, and are forced into a wager stating that whoever wins a series of races against the Reaper, and the remaining six inhabitants can keep their souls whilst the others perish by Death’s hand. The game’s story is unique in that unlike in most kart racers with a story, it has a much more twisted sense of humour attached to it. Even the title is a dark joke, since a coffin dodger is a term cheekily used to describe an elderly person in general.
Originality – 7/10
Rather than this game being one of the most unique racing experiences every developed, I see it as a blend of different ideas taken from different racing games, and combining it all into one cohesive concept, which has hardly been expanded upon enough. I think if everything was bigger and better than what players were given with this game, then it would do much better to stand among all of the rest in my opinion, which is why it wouldn’t be particularly difficult to improve on this now already existing formula; albeit with much improvement to the game controls.
In all, Coffin Dodgers, whilst could have been a great more than what it turned out to be, is still a relatively good game, and deserved of the attention of any fan of the kart-racing genre. I would however advocate that anyone play this game using a PC controller, since playing it with the keyboard can present a whole series of unneeded problems.